Hypnotic (from Greek Hypnos, sleep) or soporific drugs, commonly known as Sleep & Insomnia , are a class of psychoactive drugs whose primary function is to induce sleep and to be used in the treatment of insomnia (sleeplessness), or surgical anesthesia.[note 1]
Sleep & Insomnia This group is related to sedatives. Where as the term sedative describes drugs that serve to calm or relieve anxiety, the term hypnoticgenerally describes drugs whose main purpose is to initiate, sustain, or lengthen sleep. Because these two functions frequently overlap, and because drugs in this class generally produce dose-dependent effects (ranging from anxiolysis to loss of consciousness) they are often referred to collectively as Sleep & Insomnia drugs.
Hypnotic drugs are regularly prescribed for insomnia and other sleep disorders, with over 95% of insomnia patients being prescribed hypnotics in some countries. Many hypnotic drugs are habit-forming and, due to a large number of factors known to disturb the human sleep pattern, a physician may instead recommend changes in the environment before and during sleep, better sleep hygiene, and the avoidance of caffeine or other stimulating substances before prescribing medication for sleep. When prescribed, hypnotic medication should be used for the shortest period of time necessary.
Most hypnotics prescribed today are either benzodiazepines or nonbenzodiazepines.[medical citation needed] Among individuals with sleep disorders, 13.7% are taking or prescribed nonbenzodiazepines, while 10.8% are taking benzodiazepines, as of 2010